CRUELTY AND THE CURSE OF MASS PRODUCTION

By William Markiewicz

After the mad cow slaughter came the slaughter of countless flu chickens. Preventive killing, convenience killing, random killing, thoughtless killing are so widely applied on a daily basis that the word 'cruelty' becomes obsolete.

A few years ago in a lake at some US resort, all life forms were exterminated because tiny toothless fish were picking at the swimmers' delicate skin.

In Argentina I saw sheep tied up for wool trimming. They were treated like packages, stomped on; I saw some die in the process. In keeping with this bestial treatment, they were thoughtlessly packed around the exhaust tube of some gas operated device, perhaps the wool washer. The gas, its stream more potent than from a running car's motor, went directly to the sheeps' snouts and they were immobile, in a state of shock. I didn't stay long enough to see how many died; they are so abundant there that some deaths must not count.

At a Toronto seafood place, I saw small living lobsters on ice. From time to time they reached up with their claws, as far away as possible from the ice, obviously to grab some warmth. It was clear and pathetic. The motion strangely mimicked human despair.

Also in Toronto, I saw a truck: one half was loaded with caged living chickens so tightly packed that heads, wings and legs were sticking out and it was impossible to count them. The other half of the truck was loaded with totally empty cages!

Once while stopped at a red light I saw a little girl on the sidewalk mercilessly beating a little puppy she held on a leash. I asked her why and she answered, "He's mine!" No place to park the car, no parents in sight, no police!... I left the puppy with its torturer. It was a while ago and it still haunts me.

Greenhouse effect or not, the US declared in Kyoto that they will not stop pollution as long as it remains in their economic interests. The assassination of the planet may go slowly but steadily.

On Easter Island the locals destroyed all the trees and all the life forms before slowly dying out of starvation themselves.

In Ireland all the varieties of potatoes less one, the most profitable, were eliminated. Then potato epidemics sent most of the Irish abroad in the biggest hunger emigration in history.

We've done the same to most species of fruits and vegetables, countless varieties and flavors have been lost forever. 'Factory' agriculture, husbandry, all mass production in nature is a curse, and all plagues and all massacres are its obvious testimony. Nature's way is diversity not homogeneity and not mass production.

We know from the dog-goat experiment carried out on a desert island how drastically nature regulates the predator-game balance. But what happens when predators become too intelligent to be automatically eliminated but not smart enough to think in more distant terms? They destroy the environment and finally die out but slowly and not alone.

That's what we humans are: deadly predators of the planet. The predators' all-destroying spirit is genetically innate. But, as we're sentient beings, a more philosophical minority tries to counter this tendency. You cannot counter the predator by philosophy alone. The 'philosopher' must be simultaneously a man (or woman) of action. For lack of a better term I call this brand of active philosopher a 'politician' and the pure human predator running after immediate and maximum profit, I'll call a 'businessman.' A good politician must have vision. A politician who uses his vision for destructive purposes is somebody between 'politician' and 'businessman' and I'll call him a 'mafiosi.' The positively inspired politicians, representing the only hope for humanity et al can be efficient only on the local scale; globally the planet is uncontrollable. It doesn't mean that the present globalisation trend should stop; it never will and it is a positive, natural and inevitable trend with all our techno and scientific advances. But the 'politicians' must exercise local control while involved in global cooperation. Probably public awareness through education can give power to those 'positive politicians.' As for the 'predators' -- let them go to Jupiter. It's an immense planet, almost a star, and it'll take a long, long time to destroy it.




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